Disgraced former state Rep. Oliver Robinson (D-Birmingham) was sentenced to prison Thursday for taking bribes to oppose a clean-up of toxic soil in his district. U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon gave Robinson 33 months behind bars. Robinson also paid $169,151 in restitution and will have to forfeit $390,783. U.S. Attorney Jay Town's office sought a reduced sentence, citing Robinson's cooperation in the trial that convicted the men who bribed him. Robinson testified that he took $375,000 from a Drummond Company executive, David Roberson, and a Balch and Bingham attorney, Joel Gilbert, to drum up public opposition to an EPA clean-up in north Birmingham, which could have cost Drummond millions of dollars. In court, Robinson apologized for his actions, especially to people in north Birmingham, some of whom say they have suffered serious health problems as a result of the pollution. In an interview with WBRC Fox 6, Robinson denied that his decision to take bribes was motivated by greed, but struggled to explain his actions. "It was just something I thought I could do," Robinson said. He is scheduled to report to prison on November 27.
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